Christopher Limbach

Assistant Professor


François-Xavier Bagnoud Aerospace Building Office 3021
1320 Beal Avenue Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2140

Primary Website


Princeton University        
Ph.D. Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, 2015     

University of Arizona
B.S., Engineering Physics, 2009
B.S., Astronomy, 2009

Research Interests

Laser and optical physics for aerospace propulsion and energy: Application of optical measurement techniques to hypersonic flow, turbulent flow and plasma. Laser applications to space propulsion, including photonic propulsion, beam propulsion, and laser ablation. Non-intrusive measurements of temperature, pressure, velocity, and chemical composition in non-equilibrium flow. Tomography, three-dimensional measurements and visualization. Laser sensors for ground and airborne testing, including atmospheric LIDAR.

Professional Service

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Plasmadynamics and Lasers Technical Committee Member

American Physical Society, Member

Optica (formerly Optical Society of America): Member


Chris Limbach is an Assistant Professor in Aerospace Engineering and founding director of the Photonic Sensing and Flow Interaction laboratory. His research interests have centered on two themes: laser measurements techniques for hypersonic flows and plasmas, and laser applications to space propulsion and power. For hypersonics, his group aims to develop new high-speed measurement approaches that provide new insight into turbulent wall-bounded flows, high temperature non-equilibrium aerothermodynamics and plasmadynamics. This work includes both low power linear methods (e.g. absorption spectroscopy and interferometry) paired with ultrafast techniques such as femtosecond laser tagging (FLEET), hybrid femtosecond-picosecond CARS, and two-photon laser induced fluorescence (TALIF). For in-space power and propulsion, his group has pioneered new concepts that exploit laser-matter interaction to mitigate beam spreading for long-range power and momentum transfer with combined laser and atomic beams.

Prior to his appointment at the University of Michigan in 2022, Prof. Limbach was an assistant professor at Texas A&M University.


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Welcome Chris Limbach to Michigan Aerospace Faculty

Limbach explains his research, lasers, and what he’s excited to work on at U-M